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Resistance and PsychoanalysisImpossible Divisions$
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Simon Morgan Wortham

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474429603

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474429603.001.0001

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Civility and its Discontents: Balibar, Arendt, Lyotard

Civility and its Discontents: Balibar, Arendt, Lyotard

(p.38) 2 Civility and its Discontents: Balibar, Arendt, Lyotard
Resistance and Psychoanalysis

Simon Morgan Wortham

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter concentrates on violence and civility in the work of Étienne Balibar. Is his concept of ‘anti-violence’ able to negotiate a lesser violence that preserves the possibility of civility, or is fated only to redistribute the modalities of violence, including revolutionary ‘counter-violence’ and pacifist ‘non-violence’, in a way that risks the greater violence of managed oppression and exploitation? Through references to the work of Hannah Arendt that connect their two ‘texts’, this chapter turns from Balibar’s writings to the work of Jean-François Lyotard, notably the short essay ‘The Other’s Rights’, in order to assess whether Lyotard’s thought offers pathways beyond the seemingly irresolvable paradoxes of ‘anti-violence’. Along the way, the chapter contemplates the debts of both these thinkers to the psychoanalytic corpus. If reconceptualising violence in its contemporary guises involves transformative re-engagement with psychoanalytic ideas and arguments, I suggest that Balibar’s thought inherits and assumes a resistance of psychoanalysis that may also be a resistance of psychoanalysis.

Keywords:   Balibar, violence, civility, Arendt, Lyotard, resistance, psychoanalysis

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